Ensuring mediocrity in anti-terrorism

Ensuring mediocrity in anti-terrorism

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has announced that the MBTA, Boston’s mass transit system, will have its police conduct random bag searches of passengers to combat terrorism. And even though civil libertarians think it’s a bad idea through and through, Romney’s administration is making efforts to appease them and thereby drain the policy of its effectiveness.

T officials tomorrow will dispatch officers trained in behavioral profiling to canvass the system for suspicious activities and individuals.

T police said the tactical teams and bag searches are meant to infuse randomness into security operations to upset plots of would-be terrorists. “There is no profiling built into this,” T police Chief Joe Carter said, adding that officers must document the number of passengers stopped, as well as their race and age.

You see, profiling is bad because that narrows down the list of suspects to those who are likely to engage in terrorism. In order that we don’t hurt anyone’s feelings we must ensure that a sufficient number of elderly grandmothers of Swedish heritage and middle-age Irish-American men are included in the sweeps. Yes, that will dilute the effectiveness of the sweeps by loading up the security officers with more paperwork and fruitless searching, but feelings won’t be hurt.

And after another terrorist gets through the leaky net, I’m sure that will be a great comfort to the victims’ families.

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  • Mr Bettinelli,

    do you really believe that announced profiling will be effective ?

    My impression from military history is, that for every defense developed, somebody will find a way around it eventually.

    The US fought a war somewhat similar to the current “War on Terror”, namely the “War on drugs” (btw, since that completely disappeared from the news, can anybody tell me how it ended ?). One known tactic of drug smugglers was to abuse innocent persons by putting drugs in their travel luggage.
    So if profiling is really used, do you really believe that terrorists will be so dumb to not use that relatively simple tactic or other tricks to avoid detection ?

  • You’re mixing apples and oranges. The War on Drugs, like the War on Pvoerty, were not military actions. the so-called War on Drugs was law enforcement.

    I don’t know if the terrorists will adapt their tactics or even if this program is effective. My concern is that we’re wasting precious resources on a policy that from the beginning is designed to dilute its effectiveness by requiring security personnel to search the least likely. Any inordinate attention on those fitting the profile of those most likely to be terrorists would be immediately reviled by the ACLU, CAIR, and their ilk.

    What’s the alternative to profiling? Doing nothing?